Engage students with this week's news, events, and anniversaries.

April 21-25, 2014

Language Arts

1. Earth Day is April 22. Have students find a news story about a local Earth Day event. They should locate the five Ws – who, what, where, when and why about the event and write about them.
Common Core Standard: produce clear and coherent writing

2. Ask your students to think about how “green” they are. Do they think they are or are not environmentally friendly? Have them read a few letters to the editor to see how they are constructed. Then invite them to write similar letters encouraging people to be as “green” as they are or even “greener.”

3. Share this bit of history with students -- on April 24, 1800, the Library of Congress was established as a legislative institution but now it is quite multi-purpose. It has a fascinating history. The library’s site is here. Invite students to work in small groups and skim today’s local news and to develop a list of categories into which most will fit, just as library books are categorized. What percentage of the stories is in each category?
Common Core Standard: become proficient with research

4. Introduce your students to a giant of journalism. Legendary reporter Edward R. Murrow was born April 26, 1908. His broadcast career started in 1935, continued through the birth of television news and then he eventually joined the Kennedy administration as director of the U.S. Information Agency. Murrow was known for his courage, integrity, social responsibility, and journalistic excellence. Invite students to find a story in today’s news that illustrates one of those attributes and to write about the one they chose and explain their reasons.
Common Core Standard: compare and contrast

5. William Shakespeare was born in April 1564. His exact birth date isn’t known, but his baptismal date was April 26, 1564. In those days, most babies were baptized three days after birth so it is likely, but not certain, that he was born on April 23. What is known is that he died on that date, April 23, 1616. What is also known is that his written words lived on long after he died. What story in today’s news do your students think will live on for a long time?


1. Have students select three apartments for rent listed in the classified ads. They should do the following: 1) Compute the total annual rent for each of the three. Determine the average monthly rent based on the three apartments you have chosen. Determine which of the apartments appears to be the better choice and explain why.
Common Core Standard: generate equations

2. Challenge students to determine which sport has the most coverage in today’s newspaper. They can divide into small groups with each group taking a page of the sports section. They will need to compute the area devoted to each sport. They can make a graph to show the results and write three observations about the graph.
Common Core Standard: represent mathematical problems by graphing

Science Literacy
1. Since Earth Day is April 22, ask your students to think about how “green” they think local businesses are. Can they find ads in the newspaper which show that a local company is trying to advertise how environmentally friendly they are? They should write about what they find.
Common Core Standard: writing to persuade

2. With Earth Day this week, it’s a great time to inspire students to read and write about the environment. Begin by posing a question: What can each of us do to reduce the trash we produce each day? Have students look through the news to identify items people might throw away and to think of other ways to handle that waste.
Common Core Standard: produce clear and coherent writing

3. Have students create a vocabulary list of science words found in the news. They should record the spelling, meaning and the use of each word. Some examples might be: exploration, narcotics, energy, pollution, preventative, analysis, comet, weather,
Common Core Standard: understand informational text

Social Studies

1. April 22 is Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. This annual event is designed to show young people what a parent or mentor in their lives does to make a living. The idea is to motivate young people to think about their futures and envision the possibilities. If your students could “shadow” anyone working at any of the jobs listed in the Help Wanted ads today, which job would they want to observe and why?

2. For Earth Day, try this activity. Begin by inviting students to go online to find out about the first Earth Day in 1970. Then based on your local news, what do your students consider the most important local environmental issue? Invite a discussion and debate.

3. Share this with students -- on April 26, 1986, workers at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant ran a test that went far wrong and resulted in an explosion that released massive amounts of radiation into the air. The radioactivity was 400 times more than that of the atomic bomb drop on Hiroshima during World War II. The number of deaths from that day is controversial. Perhaps fewer than 100 died immediately estimates of deaths that could ultimately result from the disaster are as high as 90,000. Nuclear power remains controversial and it still makes news with the recent earthquake in Japan and its effect on the nuclear power plant and potential for disaster. Ask students to go online to learn more about nuclear power. Then, ask them to find a story in the news about energy and to see if there are any connections.
Common Core Standard: make logical inferences from text

Lessons written by Deborah Drezon Carroll. Carroll taught for ten years in Philadelphia, PA and is the author of two parenting books. She also coordinated the Newspaper in Education department of the Philadelphia Inquirer for 16 years.
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